Gov. Terry Branstad's "education summit" highlights this state's deficiency in education. In an increasingly competitive national and global economy, students need an education to face any challenge they — and this country — encounter.
We've made many attempts over the years to fix education. But we've all seen the No Child Left Behind Act's overemphasis on test scores, and we haven't really had time to measure how well the Iowa Core Curriculum delivers its "challenging and meaningful content to students that prepares them for success in life."
The most important thing in education is employing teachers who want to teach. One way to attract good teachers whose work is worth paying for, of course, is to raise salaries above the statewide average of $41,970.
High expectations and graduation requirements have their part to play, but most important is the power of individual people and personalities. Students learn best when they're involved in the teaching. Simply standing in front of a class, lecturing and talking at pupils (rather than to or with them) isn't constructive.
We need skilled teachers who are passionate about the material they teach, who get along well with students and who can adapt themselves to the huge variety of needs individual students have.
For either a student or a teacher "personal enrichment" is as good a reason as any to go to school. But in today's economy, such enrichment needs to be paired with a living wage. Teachers are occupied with educating the future of our country. They educate, day in and day out, the inheritors of whatever problems the prelates and politicians of today (and yesterday) create.